JPEGMAFIA has made quite a bit of a name for himself in the last few years. His uniquely abrasive and disorienting style of both rapping and producing has garnered him a cult fanbase, and he has consistently outdone himself with every release. His incredible chemistry with Danny Brown was already displayed on Brown’s last full-length release, but “SCARING THE HOES” has reintroduced hip-hop fans to one of the most explosive duos in the genre’s history.
The album wastes no time in establishing its tone. “Lean Beef Patty” sets the stage for two of rap’s strangest figureheads to do what they do best. Its instrumental is as glitchy, eclectic, and warped as one would expect from JPEGMAFIA, and both artists deliver performances just as energized as the beat itself. The hilariously titled “Steppa Pig” employs a more focused (but still uniquely JPEGMAFIA) instrumental that allows the lyrics to shine through, and the results are ridiculous. Lines like “Boy, you ain’t Kai, one twitch and you banned” and “They off that 2chan high, incels just can’t let it go like Frozen” are as absurd and hilarious as one would expect from such a duo.
The title track brings jazz-rap to a new cutting edge, with an often squeaky saxophone lead paired against incredibly abrasive percussion and deep bass. It also provides some of the project’s catchiest material. The tongue-in-cheek hook declares that “We don’t wanna hear that weird shit no more.” “Fentanyl Tester” again allows JPEGMAFIA’s production to flourish. An expertly chopped sample from Kelis’ “Milkshake” provides a beat that alternates between poppy simplicity and intense distortion. Nevertheless, it keeps a head-bobbing groove throughout.
“Burfict!” is possibly the most fun track on the album. Triumphant horns serve the perfect backdrop for another set of hilarious lines from Brown and JPEGMAFIA. “Like NASCAR, you better not go there” and “But you better get your mind right before I leave that shit all over that windshield,” Brown says. It’s all gas no brakes after that. JPEGMAFIA’s declaration that he’s “Feeling like Speed who gon’ stop me? Not you” is another great follow-up. The song is a perfect demonstration of the two artists’ magnificent chemistry.
“Orange Juice Jones” and “Kingdom Hearts Key” showcase JPEGMAFIA’s sampling skills at their very finest. The former interpolates a Michael Jackson track, highlighting a uniquely smooth basis for Brown and JPEGMAFIA to flourish on lyrically. The latter is mind-bendingly gorgeous, and its atmosphere is uniquely enveloping. A gorgeous Japanese-pop sample is matched with light, airy percussion and bell hits, featuring a fantastic guest appearance from redveil.
“God Loves You” is a big tonal shift. The dance-gospel sample makes it stand out against an already insane instrumental selection. The song is laced with explicit biblical references, but it’s hard to focus on lyrics against the amazing instrumental. “Jack Harlow Combo Meal” is a similar case, where an unbelievably jazz piano sample matches with JPEGMAFIA’s eclectic percussion and distortion. It sounds like an excerpt from the “Peanuts” holiday specials, nothing out of the ordinary for either rapper.
“HOE (Heaven On Earth)” brings a great organ sample and a compelling outro. A beautiful chop of choir vocals creates a perfect conclusion and segues perfectly into “Where Ya Get Ya Coke From?.” The final track feels fittingly like an end credits roll for a movie. Lines like “Should be in the psych ward for what I do with vocal chords” and “Like terms of services, they all in agreement” close out the project with the same tone that it started with: ridiculously fun.
“SCARING THE HOES” is two already established talents doing what they do best. JPEGMAFIA’s unreal production and raps and Danny Brown’s hilarious deliveries feel simultaneously effortless and finely tuned. It’s fun, loud, and consistently exciting, and every fan of alternative hip-hop should absolutely check it out.
JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown – SCARING THE HOES: 8.5/10